Luke Bryan

With new drama Nashville looming on the horizon, ABC whets viewers' appetites for country music with the three-hour CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock (Monday at 8/7c), a compilation of performances culled from the annual gathering of country fans in Music City this past June. Think of it as Comic-Con with cowboy boots. Eric Church, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert and co-host Luke Bryan are among those performing. We caught up with Luke to talk about his CMA Fest memories.

TV Guide Magazine: Do you remember your first CMA Music Festival, as a fan?
Bryan:
 Yes! We sat in the parking lot, tailgated, came in and had a good time watching Martina McBride, Trace Adkins.... That was in 2004.

TV Guide Magazine: What sets CMA Fest apart from other genres' festivals?
Bryan:
 There is no other genre that offers the artists to the fans quite like this. If you're a fan and you want to live the country-music experience, come to Nashville and walk the streets where all the bars are. Immerse yourself in the town. We as artists love it. We get to kiss our babies, kiss our mamas, and then come back here and be with the fans.

TV Guide Magazine: You're singing and hosting this year. Are you comfortable on camera?
Bryan:
 Oh, yeah. I think all of it is about being prepared. I've done a lot of stuff at this point, and it's just about being savvy about it. We knew who we were going to interview, and we created some great questions.

TV Guide Magazine: At the recent CMA Awards nominations, your album Tailgates & Tanlines garnered an album of the year nod, and you also received a male vocalist of the year nomination. Excited?
Bryan: It's amazing to be in this body with all that's happening now! It's like it's not even happening to me.

TV Guide Magazine: This being TV Guide, what do you watch when you're on tour?
Bryan: SportsCenter and Duck Dynasty. Me and Willie Robertson [of Duck Dynasty] are really close. We own Buck Commander together, so I'm so excited for them.

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